• Directory of Internet terms
  • Firewall — A firewall is a software package that sits between your computer and your Internet connection, keeping an eye on the traffic going to and fro. If anything suspicious appears, such as an unauthorised attempt from a remote computer to write information to your hard disc or to send information from your computer to a remote computer, it will block it and warn you. Firewalls have become essential these days because of the frequent attempts being made by hackers to grab confidential information from computers all around the world, e.g. your bank or credit card details, which may be stored in a file somewhere on your computer. Any computer is vulnerable while it is connected to the Internet. The author of this paragraph writes from personal experience: two attempts have been made by hackers to grab passwords from his computer. Both attempts were fortunately spotted by his Internet Service Provider and blocked, so no damage was done. If you access the Internet via a computer in a public or commercial organisation your ICT services department has almost certainly installed a firewall, but if you access the Internet via your personal computer then you should make sure that you install your own firewall. In addition you should install an anti-virus package. See Hacker, Virus.